With its palm-lined beaches, tropical jungles and thriving nightlife, the Dominican Republic is a true Caribbean gem. Whether you want to relax on the soft white sands, play a round at a top-class golf course or go wildlife-spotting inland, the island delivers it all. You’ll notice the Dominican Republic is very diverse, ranging from luxury coastal resorts in the Punta Cana area of the east, to inland jungle retreats and other wild beaches along the northern coast from Samana to Puerto Plata.

Beaches

On the Coconut Coast of the Dominican Republic you’ll find lots of stunning beaches, from quiet tranquil coves to vibrant stretches of sand where parties run day and night. Lay back on a sunlounger, try out a new watersport, or sip on a cocktail in the beachside bars. If you’re feeling adventurous, take some kitesurfing lessons on the famous Kite Beach in Cabarete, hire a surfboard to enjoy the waves, or go on a scuba diving trip out to the beautiful reef. Then there’s wild Playa Bahoruco in the Barahona, where the big waves attract many experienced surfers. If you’re not ready to hang ten with the dudes and dudettes just yet, head to Sosua Beach near Puerto Plata International Airport, which is one of the best spots for snorkelling and scuba diving, all thanks its spectacular aquatic park.

Cultural and family attractions in the Dominican Republic

There are plenty of places to explore on the island if you’re a bit of a history buff. In Santo Domingo, you can wander the cobbled streets among ancient monasteries. Then see the city’s awe-inspiring Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, which was built nearly 500 years ago and is one of the finest Gothic and Baroque landmarks in the Caribbean. Learn more about the history of the Dominican Republic by visiting the Museo del Hombre Dominicano museum, or take the family to the National Zoological Park (Parque Zoológico Nacional) to see some amazing reptiles, mammals, birds and other exotic animals.

Head for Santiago to visit the Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes and learn about local art history and ecology. Then head up to the historic Monumento de Santiago for a beautiful panoramic view. Or visit the port of Puerto Plata, which dates to the turn of the 16th century and is known for its pre-Columbian art collection at the Taino Art Museum.

Nightlife

As the sun goes down, the island comes to life and the sound of traditional dances like bachata and merengue fill the air. Punta Cana has legendary nightlife with lively beachside bars and vibrant clubs, so you can dance the night away without a care in the world. If you prefer the quiet life, go and relax in a laid-back local bar, watching the sunset with a refreshing beer in hand. Puerto Plata is also renowned for its dance halls, which hold everything from exotic shows to jazz.

Other attractions in the Dominican Republic

If you like to be active on holiday, you’ll discover endless miles of jungle just waiting to be explored. Go on a mountain biking adventure or take a pony trek, winding through forests and discovering waterfalls and exotic birds along the way. The island is also home to ecological parks, where you’ll find family-friendly walking trails winding past natural lagoons teeming with wildlife.